EUROPE DESIGNS THE SUPERCOMPUTERS OF THE FUTURE
Interview with Piero Vicini, coordinator of the European supercomputer project ExaNeSt for the Italian INFN
A billion billion calculations per second (that is a one followed by 18 zeros). Such is the computing power of the supercomputers of the future. Developing them is the ambitious goal of a European project now set to get underway. The project is called ExaNeSt, European Exascale System Interconnect and Storage. Among its various Italian partners are the INFN - with the CNAF (National Centre for Research and Development in Information Technology) and the Rome division at the Sapienza University of Rome - the Italian Institute for Astrophysics (INAF), eXact LAB and the Italian branch of ENGINSOFT. Piero Vicini is the project coordinator for the INFN. We asked him to explain why we need increasingly high-performing supercomputers in the so-called era of Big Science.
Can you tells us what the ExaNeSt project is all about?
ExaNeSt is a research project funded by the European Commission as part of the Horizon 2020 framework programme. It will contribute to the development of large-scale parallel HPC (High Performance Computing) systems. Production should start within the next five to seven years. We expect these systems to reach one ExaFLOPS, where FLOPS stands for FLoating point OPerations per Second, and the prefix "Exa" indicates 1018, the equivalent of a 1 followed by 18 zeros. Put simply, we are talking about a computing system capable of performing a billion billion arithmetic operations per second, ...
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